NEW DELHI: The Centre has reminded bureaucrats travelling by air for official reasons that they should stick to Air India (AI), and fly private airlines only when tickets are not available or if the desired routes are not served by AI.
Babus have also been directed to produce certificates proving that AI tickets are unavailable before availing services of private airlines. The Civil Aviation Ministry has set up a special permission cell too to decide on the requests of bureaucrats who wish to travel by private airlines.
“Those seeking relaxation on grounds of non-availability of seats must enclose a certificate issued by authorised travel agents,” guidelines re-issued on October 5 say, listing three travel agents serving government officials. The ministry even insisted that the certificate should be as per the journey. “For example, for the journey from Dibrugarh to Delhi, the non-availability of seat certificate should be for Dibrugarh-Kolkata and Kolkata-Delhi route separately and not for Dibrugarh-Delhi,” the guidelines explain.
Interestingly, the ministry’s guidelines state that in sectors that are not connected directly by any airlines, an employee must travel by Air India up to the nearest hub. Relaxation will be granted for the remaining segment. Relaxation to travel by airlines other than Air India, while availing LTC will be granted only in exceptional circumstances.
Non-availability of AI flight or seats on a particular day would not be considered a valid ground for seeking relaxation. Even availability of lower fare is no criteria for seeking relaxation, the guidelines noted. On international routes on which Air India has a code-share partner, it must be utilised. When invitees from abroad travel on Government of India funding, efforts should be made to book them on Air India and Air India code-share flights.
The ministry has also published a list of 78 routes not currently served by AI to allow government officials to travel by private airlines without prior nod.